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Consumer Insights Provider Populix Raises New Funds

MrWeb

Indonesia-based consumer insights provider Populix has raised $1.2m in a pre-Series A round of funding, which it will use to roll out new products and expand its marketing efforts.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Timothy Astandu and COO Eileen Kamtawijoyo, Populix offers a platform to help businesses connect with respondents and better understand consumer preferences in Indonesia, as well as subscription-based services for brand health tracking and product launch perception auditing. The firm also sells in-house research and datasets to clients.

New funding has been led by existing investor Intudo Ventures, with participation from Quest Ventures and a number of other investors, and adds to the $1m seed financing raised in 2019. Jeff Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures, comments: ‘Southeast Asia is fast fulfilling its potential as the epicentre of global economic growth with Indonesia as the foremost market. We see that Populix has incisively deployed technology to modernise the old ‘market research’ service’.

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These 10 startups are getting ready to venture into Vietnam

KrASIA

COVID-19 made 2020 a difficult year for most economies around the world. Vietnam, however, has managed to pull through with positive developments. Despite many challenges, its GDP has grown over the first quarter of 2021, ending with a year-on-year 4.48% increase.

The Vietnam Global Innovation (VGI) program, powered by Quest Ventures, recently completed its four-week cohort program at the end of March, which focused on providing knowledge and valuable connections to Singaporean startups looking to expand their reach into Vietnam using a mix of in-person and online sessions.

After successfully running its first cohort last year, the 2021 edition has allowed founders from ten startups to learn new insights and also receive feedback on aspects such as their business models and market entry strategies.

Below are the startups that participated:

  1. Aespada Technologies: Aespada’s platform allows construction businesses to book heavy vehicles for the delivery of materials to construction sites. VGI provided co-founder Jean Christophe Li with some useful advice on market entry into Vietnam. “Ensure that you have a local presence, or a local Vietnamese agent who can bridge the gap much faster. Entering Vietnam will take a lot of resources and time, so ensure that the startup can dedicate sufficient time into the expansion,” said Li.
  2. Edsy Bitsy: Online platform Edsy Bitsy transforms written content into watchable videos, transforming long pieces of texts into smaller consumable watchable formats. Co-founder Deevak Premdas shared his plans for the startup in Vietnam over the coming months. “We will continue the development of the first version of our product, which we aim to complete by June. In the meantime, the non-profit in Vietnam I have spoken to is interested in running our pilot program for their summer school in June. As Vietnam has a booming after-school tutoring industry, Edsy Bitsy aims to reach out to these businesses to onboard them as our early adopters,” said Premdas.
  3. Fundigo: Crowdfunding and event listing platform Fundigo focuses on impact-driven businesses. The firm aims to allow these types of companies to raise capital and gain exposure to investors that are looking to work with those with social impact values. Vietnam presents a great opportunity for Fundigo, said founder and CEO Andrew Soh. “Vietnam is a growing market for impact businesses. After seeking advice from mentors during VGI and research, we know that it is a market where a lot of Gen-Z and millennials are starting their own impact businesses,” Soh said.
  4. Gmeal: The company runs a platform that allows corporate social responsible (CSR) sponsors to contribute meals and essential services to underprivileged communities. Its marketplace uses the concept of pay-it-forward to connect merchants with sponsors and provide those in need a helping hand. Director Bernice Tan sees Vietnam as a fantastic market for social impact work. “Vietnam has become one of the most dynamic impact investing markets in Southeast Asia. Foreign enterprises lead in strategic CSR, the government has embarked on mainstreaming green finance, and local governments have good initiatives for developing social impact goals,” said Tan.
  5. Hireplace: Networking platform Hireplace connects employers with potential hires. The firm also manages speed interview events to allow talents and those looking to hire to connect. Customer success manager Cherilyn Low found the masterclass lessons valuable to understand the market better. “We learned that Vietnam has developed into one of the leading startup hubs in the SEA region. The government supports the digital transformation initiative, which has attracted lots of startups and multinational firms to set up offices there,” said Low. “In addition to this, we’ve seen a growing number of interest in tech-related roles. People are quite open to working at international startups. From the information shared by the speakers, we gained a deeper understanding of the local working culture. It helps us understand the local recruitment market’s needs, develop a suitable entry strategy, and develop a series of virtual speed hiring events to help other startups hire the right talents,” Low said.
  6. Hydroleap: The company provides a chemical-free and cost-efficient water treatment solution based on electrical charge (electrocoagulation) to remove solids. For Wai Jun Mak, head of strategy and finance, the biggest insight the team learned from the program was a better understanding of the local regulatory landscape. “It is important to know and understand the business dynamics of how the industry actually works. In our case, we found that despite good regulations, water industry laws may not always be enforced on the ground. Despite this, there are major companies and industrial parks that continue to invest in good water treatment technologies to ensure that the surrounding environment is clean,” Mak said.
  7. Nabcore: Brand protection and tracking product platform Nabcore assists brands with tracking supply chain movements of goods and physical authentication of products. When asked about the startup’s plans for Vietnam over the next coming months, director of business development Guankai Ng explained that “our plan is to collaborate with potential local partners to provide suitable brand protection solutions for brand owners and organizations in Vietnam. Subsequently, as projects in Vietnam get firmed up, we will establish a presence there to support the partners.”
  8. Nino News: Subscription-based content streaming provider Nino News provides news content to assist educators when teaching preschool students. The co-founding team made up of Jenine Koh, Sienny Septibella, and Stacy Goh hopes to make news more accessible and fun for young children while giving them another way to absorb knowledge outside the classroom.
  9. SWAT Mobility: Mobility solution provider Swat Mobility provides a range of ride-sharing services that can be customized on-demand, based on users’ needs and preferences. The startup aims to improve traffic flow and reduce transportation costs with its technology. When asked about the biggest takeaway from the VGI program, regional director of marketing Annie Ong commented that “with a fast-growing smartphone penetration rate and a young workforce, the Vietnam market has a huge potential for disruption with mobile applications. Together with the Vietnam government’s National Digital Transformation program, there would be opportunities to help businesses digitalize their current processes. However, the technology that is implemented must be adapted to local taste and preferences to ensure long-term adoption and use.”
  10. Tanalink: Crop management platform Tanalink uses IoT technology, sensors, and data loggers to help planters monitor the number of plants harvested and areas covered. The company aims to reduce crop loss, improve efficiency, and harvest yield. CEO Patrick Martinent was excited at the prospect of entering Vietnam. “Vietnam provides a wonderful sandbox to both validate and grow the business. First, the tech ecosystem is thriving and the talent is world-class. Second, the country’s agriculture sector is ripe for disruption and innovation,” he said.

To register interest in the VGI cohort with Quest Ventures, click here.

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Populix raises US$1.2M to provide businesses with valuable insights on Indonesian customers

e27

Populix, an Indonesia-based consumer insights platform, announced today that it has raised US$1.2 million in a pre-Series A financing, led by existing investor Intudo Ventures.

Quest Ventures and a number of other strategic investors also joined the round.

“As we roll out new products and services, Populix will be able to more accurately capture the pulse of market dynamics and create significant value for our clients. In the future, Populix will introduce even more sophisticated services for our major clients that address targeted needs while continuing to refine our mass-market offerings to open the door for more people to gain access to consumer insights products,” said Timothy Astandu, co-founder of Populix.

“Southeast Asia is fast fulfilling its potential as the epicentre of global economic growth with Indonesia as the foremost market. As global and regional brands pour resources into the region, ensnaring the growth dividend lies in sense-making the disparate markets ahead of the competition. We see that Populix has incisively deployed technology to modernise the old ‘market research’ service,” said Jeff Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures.

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Indonesian consumer insights startup banks $1.2m from Quest Ventures, others

Tech in Asia

Indonesia-based consumer insights provider Populix announced it has raised US$1.2 million in its latest round of funding.

More funding details

  • Lead investor: Intudo Ventures
  • Other investors: Quest Ventures and others
  • Stage: Pre-series A

More company updates

  • Populix will use the fresh funds to roll out new products, increase hiring in the company, and invest in marketing.
  • The company offers a wide range of subscription-based and customized services, including brand health tracking, product launch perception auditing, customer satisfaction indexing, and custom research campaign management.
  • Currently, Populix is developing data set products that can periodically track market movements, allowing businesses to follow the changing market dynamics and consumer preferences.
  • The consumer insights firm now offers over 250,000 respondents on its proprietary panel across 300 cities in Indonesia.
  • In December 2019, Populix raised US$1 million in its seed round of financing led by Intudo Ventures.

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Vietnam-focused VCs eye startups enabling digital adoption by SMEs

DealStreetAsia

Venture capital investors in Vietnam are betting big on startups enabling digital transformation in small and medium enterprises across various sectors.

Active investors in the region — Do Ventures, Quest Ventures, Genesia, BEENEXT and VI Group — are bullish on backing tech startups that are mounting traditional or physical businesses onto the digital platform.

“Quest is looking for tech companies that will disrupt the agri-food tech sectors, fintech, and smart cities/urban solutions spaces,” said senior associate Michelle Ng.

The challenge could be educating not just the SMEs but even micro-businesses in Vietnam, Ng from Quest Ventures said.

“Micro-businesses and SMEs do not have the capacity for a digital transformation team to map out their plan,” she added.

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Opinion: Speculations around the new Gojek-Tokopedia CEO role arise, innovation key

Marketing Magazine

After months of speculation, Gojek is reportedly merging with Indonesian eCommerce platform Tokopedia to form GoTo and Gojek’s co-CEO Andre Soelistyo will lead the new entity, Bloomberg reported quoting its sources. Following the merger, Gojek’s shareholders will control 58% of the new holding company while Tokopedia’s owners have the rest, Bloomberg said.

Partner at Quest Ventures Jeffrey Seah said Gojek has always been the surrogate benchmark for Indonesia’s tech ecosystem coming of age. “The narrative on it has always been the alpha lead, from talent, funding, expansion and govt support. Gojek will bring this outsized ‘first and foremost’ mindset to Tokopedia,” he added.

Seah explained that previously, the fight centred around the vertical space – Gojek versus Grab versus Uber. With Makarim’s elevation to the government has an added sense of national duty and Indonesia’s Pancasila state ideology to Gojek’s role in the Indonesian society beyond tech, he added. Pancasila was formulated by former President Sukarno and comprises principles that include the unity of Indonesia and the idea of being governed by wise policies.

“Grab and Gojek’s tense merger dance – and the supposed desire of Grab to acquire – has built up a siege mentality mindset in the Indonesian tech ecosystem. With the merger, how far the merged entity should grow with this siege mentality and the speed to achieve the progress markers might be a source of friction,” Seah said. This will be especially evident in the expansion plans outside of the Indonesian diaspora into the burgeoning Southeast Asia market of which Indonesia is the foremost market. “The new company will eventually go global but it will push through via the Indonesian diaspora and expand,” he added.

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Grab co-founder set to dramatically increase voting rights with Nasdaq listing

Financial Times

Malaysian internet entrepreneur Anthony Tan is set to dramatically increase his control over his company Grab when the south-east Asian tech group joins Nasdaq later this year.

In a move that would be the envy of his Silicon Valley peers, the Grab chief executive and co-founder will have 60.4 per cent of the voting power in the company while owning a stake of just 2.2 per cent.

This is a feat comparable to that of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and unprecedented for a deal involving a special purpose acquisition company.

The holdings were contained in papers filed last week after the Singapore-based company unveiled a record deal to combine with a New York-listed Spac launched by Altimeter, a Silicon Valley group, valuing the business at almost $40bn.

Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures, said: “While he has supervoting rights, he has kept his management team intact. That is a [type of] check and balance.”

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仍是东南亚领先创投目的地 我国起步公司去年吸引55亿元投资额

联合早报

新加坡继续是东南亚领先的创投目的地,本地起步公司去年吸引了约55亿元投资额,是五年前的三倍。

总理公署部长兼人力部和贸工部第二部长陈诗龙说,在行业参与者和政府共同努力下,我国起步公司的生态体系在史无前例的冠病危机中继续蓬勃发展及保持韧性。

创业行动社群主席兼求索创投(Quest Ventures)合伙人陈中指出,我国培育了不少潜力巨大的起步公司,包括智慧芽公司(PatSnap)、买卖平台Carousell、油漆品牌制造商Gush,以及员工管理软件设计公司StaffAny等。它们都已向区域扩张,有些更迈向国际,“现在的挑战将是在这些成功基础上继续培育下一代冠军。”

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Start-ups raked in $5.5b in funding despite Covid-19

The New Paper

Start-ups in Singapore raked in $5.5 billion in funding last year, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

This figure, shared by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng yesterday, is lower than the funding garnered in recent years.

But it demonstrates the resilience of Singapore’s investment landscape and gives the Republic confidence it can do well despite the pandemic, he said, noting as well that the amount is almost three times what was received five years ago.

In comparison, Singapore start-ups drew $8.5 billion in 2019, and $14.3 billion in 2018.

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SGX said to set minimum SPAC value at $200-300m, SE Asian VCs voice concern

DealStreetAsia

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is close to finalising the framework for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) to list, but stakeholders close to these discussions have voiced concerns over key items in the bourse’s proposal.

SGX, which began a public consultation to study the feasibility of SPAC listings in January, is understood to be setting a minimum SPAC value at $200-300 million, with an eye to allowing listings in the third quarter of this year.

SPACs are blank cheque firms that raise capital solely to acquire private entities with the aim of eventually taking them public.

Two sources disclosed that a consortium of Singaporean investors including GGV Capital’s Jenny Lee, Monk’s Hill Ventures’s Lim Kuo Yi and Quest Ventures’s James Tan had previously engaged in private discussions with Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and other government agencies to find a solution.

One of the proposals presented was the setting up of a separate exchange akin to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board, or better known as China’s STAR Board, which would be more friendly to Singaporean tech listings. The discussions were first conceived around 2-3 years ago and accelerated in the last 3 months, but one insider source does not think that the SGX will pull this off anytime soon.

Quest Ventures and Monk’s Hill Ventures declined to comment for the story. DealStreetAsia has contacted GGV Capital for a comment.

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Сервис с «умными» ключами для аренды квартир ApartX получил инвестиции при оценке $2 млн

Рамблер

ApartХ — это проект для владельцев посуточной арендной недвижимости. С помощью мобильного приложения они могут дистанционно управлять доступом к квартирам при помощи «умных» замков. Такие замки генерируют ограниченные по времени PIN-коды (в зависимости от срока аренды).

Коды передаются арендаторам недвижимости через СМС или мессенджеры. Приложение автоматически синхронизирует заполняемость недвижимости на таких площадках по аренде квартир, как AirBnb и Booking. Стартап представлен в 7 городах: Нур-Султан, Алматы, Шымкент, Павлодар, Актобе, Кокшетау и Москва.

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Сервис с «умными» ключами для аренды квартир ApartX получил инвестиции при оценке $2 млн

Rusbase

ApartХ — это проект для владельцев посуточной арендной недвижимости. С помощью мобильного приложения они могут дистанционно управлять доступом к квартирам при помощи «умных» замков. Такие замки генерируют ограниченные по времени PIN-коды (в зависимости от срока аренды).

Коды передаются арендаторам недвижимости через СМС или мессенджеры. Приложение автоматически синхронизирует заполняемость недвижимости на таких площадках по аренде квартир, как AirBnb и Booking. Стартап представлен в 7 городах: Нур-Султан, Алматы, Шымкент, Павлодар, Актобе, Кокшетау и Москва.

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Quest Ventures, ScaleUp Malaysia invest in 11 firms

Digital Life Asia

Women founders took center stage as ScaleUp Malaysia and Quest Ventures announced the selection of the Top 11 companies in their second cohort. Sixty-five percent of the scaleups selected consisted of women founders. Quest Ventures and ScaleUp Malaysia disbursed a total amount of RM2,750,000 (US$680,185) in investments for Cohort 2. These companies will receive an investment of RM250,000 (US$61,844) each to grow their business regionally in their #Quest2Scale.

“We had some amazing companies joining us as part of this cohort and we are proud of how far each of them has progressed in the program. This was a very difficult decision but ultimately, the investment committee selected the companies that they believed had the potential to grow their business regionally with the support of our partner, Quest Ventures,” said ScaleUp Malaysia Managing Partner Tay Shan Li in a press statement.

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Quest Ventures, Scale-up Malaysia back 11 startups

e27

Amount invested: The duo disbursed a total amount of MYR 2.8 million (US$680,000) in investments for their second cohort. These companies will receive an investment of MYR250,000 (US$61,000) each to grow their business regionally.

The 11 startups are:

ERTH (e-Waste Recycling Through Heroes): A social enterprise that specialises in collecting and recycling e-waste from household and businesses.

Fefifo: Pioneering digitalised, standardised farming in ready-to-farm modern farm spaces, to bring sustainable and profitable smallholder farming into Southeast Asia.

Hatio: Specialising in supply chain and logistics. Its services span warehouse automation, smart logistics, robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

Hauz: A data-driven enterprise solution that manages and monitors mobile workforce operations in the service industry.

Homa2u: An O2O firm building materials and interior finishes marketplace for house projects.

Kiddocare: An online platform that connects parents with trained Malaysian baby sitters and early childhood education providers for personalised, on-demand services.

Load2Go: An on-demand logistics platform for booking trucks for large freight, construction and manufacturing industries.

MMC: A food-based company that operates several different businesses, including a central kitchen, food mart, cafe and vending machines.

MyBump: A car wrap advertising company that matches brands with drivers for data-backed creative execution outdoor advertising.

Pomen: A SaaS automotive maintenance platform that specialises in connecting fleet companies and vehicle owners with workshops and service providers.

Quadby: The Nextdoor for universities. Quadby is a community app for students to find and chat with peers on campus.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest Ventures invest over $680k in 11 growth-stage startups

Tech in Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia and Quest Ventures on Tuesday announced that they will invest over 2.7 million Malaysian ringgit (US$680,185) in 11 growth-stage startups in the country, supporting the businesses’ regional expansion plans.

The young companies, coming from sectors such as education, waste management, logistics, advertising, and agriculture, are a part of ScaleUp Malaysia’s second cohort. They will run through a three-month intensive business coaching program and receive an investment of 250,000 Malaysian ringgit (US$61,844) each.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest invest over USD 680,000 in growth-stage startups

KrASIA

ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator, and Singaporean VC Quest Ventures on Tuesday announced that they will invest MYR 2.75 million (USD 680,185) in eleven fast-growing Malaysian startups supporting their regional expansion.

The young companies, coming from sectors such as education, waste management, logistics, advertising, agriculture, are part of ScaleUp Malaysia’s second cohort. They will run through a 3-month intensive business coaching program and receive an investment of MYR 250,000 (USD 61,844) each.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest Ventures invest in 11 companies

Digital News Asia

LOCAL accelerator ScaleUp Malaysia, which launched its second cohort of 20 companies in October 2020 in partnership with Quest Ventures, has selected 11 companies for their second cohort, disbursing a total of US$676,000 (RM2.75 million).

These 11 companies will receive an investment of US$61,844 (RM250,000) each to grow their business regionally, the company said in a statement. Diversity was also a highlight of this cohort, as 65% of the scaleups selected consisting of women founders.

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ScaleUp Malaysia & Quest Ventures Invests In 11 Companies On Their #Quest2Scale

Yahoo Finance

ScaleUp Malaysia which launched its second cohort of 20 companies in October 2020 in partnership with Quest Ventures has announced its selection of Top 11 companies, disbursing a total amount of RM2,750,000 (USD680,185) in investments for their second Cohort. These companies will receive an investment of RM250,000 (USD61,844) each to grow their business regionally.

Tay Shan Li, Managing Partner of ScaleUp Malaysia said, “We had some amazing companies joining us as part of this cohort and we are proud of how far each of them has progressed in the programme. This was a very difficult decision but ultimately, the investment committee selected the companies that they believed had the potential to grow their business regionally with the support of our partner, Quest Ventures.”

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Gojek hunts for a new head of marketing for Singapore

Marketing Magazine

Gojek is on the lookout for a new head of marketing in Singapore. This comes as its previous head of marketing for Singapore, Archishman Ramasubramanian, has moved on to take on the role of head of global demand, strategy and planning, transport group.

The appointed individual will be tasked to define the long term brand strategy for Gojek Singapore, according to a job posting seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. He or she will also be responsible for driving growth and market share, as well as lead and further develop capabilities in the Gojek Singapore marketing team across digital, brand, CRM and creative channels. Additionally, the individual will have to collaborate with various teams, namely product, marketplace, operations and data, to determine the general long term consumer acquisition, retention, and driver engagement strategies. The new head of marketing will report to Jasper Distel, group head of international marketing at Gojek.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, said traction of joint business plans are often not uniform outside of host market. He added that a Gojek-Tokopedia merger would thus allow marketers to enter into joint business plans for the Indonesian market at the levels of Google or Facebook, which is “a scale unseen before in the marketing and data world”.

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Quest Ventures joins S$200,000 seed round for celebrity video platform Sendjoy

The Business Times

VENTURE capital firm Quest Ventures has joined a S$200,000 seed funding round for Singapore-based celebrity video platform Sendjoy to expand in Asia.

Sendjoy was launched in June 2020 by Singapore film producer Low Ser En and co-founder Lim Liang Chun. It said that it has grown from 20 “sendjoyers” – celebrities and talent who can be engaged for personalised greeting videos – to over 200. They include local celebrities Gurmit Singh and Nat Ho.

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said in a press statement: “Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a rapidly growing need for consumers to find novel ways to stay connected to each other, and for celebrities and creators to be more creative in engaging their fans and communities when they can’t meet in person.

“The events of 2020 sped up consumer adoption of social video tools like Zoom and TikTok. Against this backdrop, Sendjoy is leading a new consumer behaviour of creating and sharing high-quality mobile video greetings through a digital marketplace approach.”

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Singapore-based social video firm Sendjoy raises $150k in seed round

Tech in Asia

Social video platform Sendjoy announced it has raised S$200,000 (US$150,800) in a seed round from venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

Founded by the British Film and Television Award-winning producer Low Ser En, Sendjoy is a personal video platform where users can book video messages from 200 popular celebrities and creators, including musicians, actors, comedians, and illustrators.

“The events of 2020 sped up consumer adoption of social video tools like Zoom and TikTok,” said James Tan, managing partner at Quest Ventures. “Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a rapidly growing need for consumers to find novel ways to stay connected to each other.”

Sendjoy will capitalize on Southeast Asia’s booming online media market, which is poised to hit US$35 billion by 2025.

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Fintech Startup GajiGesa Provides Early Access to Salary for Employees

DailySocial.id

The thing is, the monthly payroll system in Indonesia held an issue for most workers. According to BPS data, Indonesia has at least 129 million workers, many of whom face financial pressures and difficulties caused by irregular cash flow, monthly payment schedules, unexpected expenses, and limited financial access.

The World Bank FINDEX estimates that 70% of Indonesians borrow money from informal institutions, often with high-interest rates and super-tense collection systems. GajiGesa intends to solve this issue, which was initiated at the end of 2020 by Martyna Malinowska (previously Standard Chartered Bank’s Product Lead and LenddoEFL’s Product Director) and Vidit Agrawal (formerly APAC Strap’s Head of Business Development and CARRO’s COO).

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New Year, New Funds: The Top Funding Rounds in Asia So Far in 2021

The Fintech Times

Though the year has only just started, there have already been some major funding announcements in the fintech sector including in Asia – with Indonesia and other parts of South Asia seeing a particular boom. Though the world is still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has provided many fintechs with an opportunity to take advantage of the increased digitalisation, particularly in the payments space, with new fintechs even being founded last year in response.

Here are some of the top Asian funding rounds that have happened so far in 2021:

GajiGesa

GajiGesa, a financial wellness company that offers Earned Wage Access and other services for Indonesian workers, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures, with other participants including GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.

The company launched in October 2020 as a response to the large numbers of unbanked people in Indonesia, around 66% of the 260 million population. It was founded by husband and wife team Vidit Agrawal, Uber’s first employee in Asia, and Martyna Malinowska, who in the past led product development at Standard Chartered SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform Lenddo EFL.

“These hardworking Indonesians had no fair or formal sources for easy access to capital. Further, the most common reason for borrowing was short-term liquidity issues,” Agrawal told TechCrunch. “But workers were forced to borrow either long-term, high ticket size loans or short-term loans with exorbitantly high-interest rates.”

During COVID-19, Agrawal said the start-up has “seen insatiable demand and support for GajiGesa’s EWA solution from employers. This is partly attributed to the various challenges employers are facing due to the effects of COVID-19, but our platform is designed to support employers and employees in the long-term. The value of EWA and the other services we offer is not limited to the pandemic.”

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Fintech startup GajiGesa raises US$2.5m in seed funding to expand reach in Indonesia

The Business Times

GAJIGESA, a fintech platform that allows users to access their wages in real-time, has raised US$2.5 million in seed funding to expand its reach in Indonesia. The round was co-led by US-based Defy.vc and Singapore-based Quest Ventures.

GajiGesa offers services such as Earned Wage Access (EWA), financial literacy content, bill payments and real-time analytics. Founded in 2020 by Vidit Agarwal and Martyna Malinowska, the startup aims to provide financial resilience for workers in Indonesia and help partner companies more effectively and easily manage their cash flow.

Mr Agarwal said that GajiGesa is aiming to build financial resilience “at scale”.

He added: “EWA is crucial to increasing the short-term financial wellness of Indonesian workers by eliminating their dependence on loan sharks or other informal and expensive sources of capital.”

Goh Yiping, a partner at Quest Ventures, agreed, saying: “GajiGesa’s platform is helping middle- to low-income workers who live pay cheque to pay cheque deal with stressful cash-flow issues. It provides much needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty.”

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Myanmar turmoil threatens digital economy, say experts

KrASIA

As Myanmar’s military detained the country’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, together with other senior officials, on Monday, seizing control of the government, the internet suddenly went dark for many. The gag, which commenced at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, also crippled businesses that rely on broadband connectivity. It paralyzed the banking system, shutting ATMs and branches for the day, while fintech services such as payment and microfinance apps stopped to work.

Leading mobile wallet Wave Money was among the tech startups that had to suspend its services. Although it was back online on Tuesday, the firm fears further disruptions that could “slow down if not undo” the country’s efforts in building up a digital economy. “Any sector that depends on connectivity would be severely impacted,” a spokesperson told KrASIA. “Businesses and societies face a lot of challenges when telecommunication services are impaired.”

Jeffrey Seah, partner at Singapore-based VC firm Quest Ventures, believes that the investment climate will be slowing down “temporarily.” But he also thinks that it provides an opportunistic window for more “capabilities building” for the startups. “We are watching the situation closely to return to participate in the Myanmar digital economy,” he said.

Seah remains optimistic on the country’s potential. “The digital literacy and connectivity of the Burmese people and its wider diaspora have risen exponentially in the past decade,” he said. “We believe the talent in the tech ecosystem will continue to tap on those trends and continue their development amidst the recent uncertainty.”

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The financial wellness firm of ex-Uber, StanChart execs nets $2.5m in seed funding

Tech in Asia

Financial wellness platform GajiGesa has raised US$2.5 million in a seed round co-led by Silicon Valley’s Defy and early-stage VC firm Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group, and a number of strategic angel investors also took part in the round, according to a statement.

Founded just last year, the Indonesia-headquartered startup created a fintech platform that provides member employees with financial management tools such as earned wage access and financial education. It also empowers employer partners with an enterprise-grade HR analytics platform to improve employee output.

The company was established by seasoned fintech veterans Martyna Malinowska, who previously worked as product lead at Standard Chartered Bank, and Vidit Agarwal, who was formerly Stripe’s head of business development for Asia Pacific with stints at Uber and Carro.

“GajiGesa’s financial wellness platform is helping middle to low income workers who live paycheck to paycheck deal with stressful cash flow issues,” said Quest Ventures partner Yiping Goh. “It provides much-needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty.”

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GajiGesa Raises $2.5 Million To Reach More Underbanked Indonesians

PYMNTS

The FinTech GajiGesa Indonesia has landed $2.5 million in a seed round of funding. The company announced via LinkedIn that the funding will be used to “help expand financial resilience for workers across Indonesia.”

Funders included Defy.vc, Quest Ventures, GK-Plug and Play Indonesia, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners and Kanmo Group.

“At GajiGesa, we firmly believe every hardworking Indonesian deserves financial fairness, security and dignity,” said Co-founder Martyna Malinowska. She added that the company would give workers the tools they need.

The company was founded last year by Malinowska and her husband, Vidit Agrawal. She said she worked with many people who did not have bank accounts while at LenddoEFL, an alternative credit assessment platform.

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GajiGesa, a fintech startup serving underbanked Indonesian workers, raises $2.5 million seed round

TechCrunch

GajiGesa, a fintech company that offers Earned Wage Access (EWA) and other services for workers in Indonesia, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures. Other participants included GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.

The company was founded last year by husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska. Agrawal was Uber’s first employee in Asia and has also served in leadership positions at Carro and Stripe. Malinowska led product development at Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform LenddoEFL.

About 66% of Indonesia’s 260 million population is “unbanked,” which means they don’t have a bank account and have limited access to financial services like loans. Agrawal and Malinowska decided to launch GajiGesa in Indonesia because Malinowska worked with many unbanked workers while at LenddoEFL.

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Former Carro COO’s financial wellness app GajiGesa bags US$2.5M seed for Indonesia expansion

e27

GajiGesa, an Indonesian financial wellness platform, announced today it has raised US$2.5 million in a seed funding round, co-led by Silicon Valley-based Defy.vc and Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners, Kanmo Group and multiple strategic angel investors also participated.

As per the company, the fresh funds will be used to expand its platform in Indonesia while also scaling its tech team in Jakarta.

GajiGesa was launched in 2020 by the husband-wife duo of Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska. Agrawal was the first Uber employee in Asia and previously the COO of automotive marketplace startup Carro. Malinowska was previously at Standard Chartered and Singapore-based fintech startup LenddoEFL.

“GajiGesa’s financial wellness platform is helping middle to low-income workers who live paycheck to paycheck deal with stressful cash-flow issues. It provides much needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty,” said Yiping Goh, Partner at Quest Ventures.

According to BPS (Statistics Indonesia) data, there are approximately 129 million workers in Indonesia, many of whom regularly face increased financial stress and hardship because of cash flow constraints, traditional monthly payment schedules, unexpected expenses, and limited financial access.

The World Bank Findex estimates over 70 per cent of Indonesians borrow from informal sources, often with extortionate interest rates and undesirable terms.

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Indonesian financial wellness platform GajiGesa raises $2.5m and other SE Asia deals

DealStreetAsia

Indonesian financial wellness platform GajiGesa on Thursday announced that it has raised a $2.5 million seed round. The round was co-led by US-based, early-stage venture capital firm Defy.vc, and Singapore-headquartered Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group, and several strategic angel investors also participated in the round.

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ACE助力 创业生态百花齐放

联合早报

商会是各行业的领头羊,在企业转型的道路上,商会扮演了重要的角色。“一道来谈”栏目邀请积极转型的本地商会和会员,让他们一道分享转型的心路历程。

本期打头阵是创办于2003年的创业行动社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship,简称ACE),与传统商会不同的是,ACE不局限于任何行业、主要面向本地起步公司,致力于在我国营造充满活力的创业生态环境,助本地创业者一臂之力。

早前由政府和私人企业家共同领导的创业行动社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship,简称ACE),近20年来最大改变是在2014年走向私营化,转身变成非盈利的私有化公司。

ACE主席兼求索创投(Quest Ventures)合伙人陈中(46岁)接受《联合早报》访问时说,创业生态系统要取得成功须有五大关键支柱,除了起步公司之外,还要公共部门、高等教育机构、企业,以及风险资本之间相互配合。

统计局2019年数据显示,我国有3600家起步公司,聘用约1万8000名员工,且深耕不同领域,包括消费、金融、教育和医疗等。此外,本地也有150家创投公司和100个孵化公司与机构。

自2011年便加入ACE的陈中,曾担任董事会成员和副主席,去年正式升任主席,亲眼见证本地创业生态发展。他指出,冠病疫情来袭为起步公司带来机遇及挑战,有些因此被淘汰,不过有些却蓬勃发展,例如远程教育、医疗科技等。

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Singapore’s ‘voracious’ GIC tops list of most active state-linked investors, ahead of China and Japan

SCMP

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC emerged as the most active state-owned investor in the world last year, outranking larger state funds from China, Norway and Japan, as other investors downshifted amid the volatility brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report by independent data and analysis platform Global SWF comparing the activities of 438 state-owned investors, GIC, the 10th-largest state fund worldwide, deployed US$17.7 billion into 65 deals – down slightly from US$24 billion in 2019.

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said the success of Singapore’s state-owned investors was evident, pointing to how net investment returns were the largest contributor to Singapore’s government revenues, overtaking corporate and personal income taxes, as well as the goods and services tax.

Tan added that the sectors of interest in the past year were all geared towards how governments could better respond to future pandemics. Covid-19, he said, has raised the issue of how to safeguard basic needs and capabilities, ranging from productivity to education to food and health care systems.

“Considering the mandate of sovereign wealth funds in general, which is to make long-term generational investments that secure the country’s financial future, it makes sense that these investments point towards innovation that secures the future in other ways as well,” he said.

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Analysis: Be it Grab or Tokopedia, industry players outline Gojek’s possible merger impact on ad industry

Marketing Magazine

Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, said the advertising and marketing industries are traditionally organised by geography for decision-making and budget allocation. Ecosystem partnerships across geography markets have been entered into by multinational companies and regional brands, but traction of joint business plans (JBP) are often not uniform outside of host market. A Gojek-Tokopedia merger will allow marketers to enter into JBPs for the Indonesian market at the levels of Google or Facebook, which Seah said is “a scale unseen before in the marketing and data world”.

“The economic and ecosystem value realisation for a Gojek-Tokopedia merger will be more than the sum-of-the-parts approach, and concurrently provide a stronger pedestal ramp for future Indonesian ecosystem-originate maturing tech companies to exit,” he explained.

On the surface, both companies seem like a good fit for Gojek given their prominence in the industry. However, our experts say a Gojek-Tokopedia would make more sense. According to Quest Ventures’ Seah, a Gojek-Tokopedia merger will “reinforce Indonesia’s Pancasila state ideology” formulated by former President Sukarno. Pancasila comprises principles which include the unity of Indonesia and the idea of being governed by wise policies. According to Seah, a merger between the two Indonesian companies will been seen as the pride of an Indonesian government-led company driving an independent Indonesia economy.

“From an ecosystem development and start-up talent pride angle, Gojek-Tokopedia will be more welcomed and preferred for the vast and expansive Indonesian ecosystem. From a nationalistic angle, these two companies have rejuvenated the Indonesian formal employment market, raised access consumption, and brought about green shoots in the diversification of the Indonesian economy away from natural resources,” Seah explained. Compared to a merger with Grab, or as what Grab CEO Anthony Tan terms an “acquisition” in his internal note to employees, Seah said the cultural fit and speed of integration “will definitely be more frictionless” between Gojek and Tokopedia.

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Meet Mentor For Hope, the startup mentorship programme that will donate 50K meals for those in need

e27

More than 140 leading names in the regional startup ecosystem –from venture capital firms, accelerators or incubators, to other organisations– announced the launch of Mentor For Hope, a programme aiming to raise the equivalent of 50,000 meals for those in need while supporting startups in the time of crisis at the same time.

Vertex Ventures, Sequoia India, Big Idea Ventures, Saison Capital, Qualgro, e27, Golden Gate Ventures, Quest Ventures, Give.Asia, Insignia Ventures Partners, Openspace Ventures, Antler, BLOCK71 by NUS Enterprise, SGInnovate, StartupX, SheVC (a SoGal Foundation initiative), SoGal Ventures, NTUitive, STRIVE, Hustle Fund, Asia Institute for Mentoring, Wantedly and VentureCap Insights are among those supporting the initiative so far.

Mentor for Hope evolved from the “Gratitude-COVID mentoring initiative” started by Tan in Singapore when her role at a venture firm was made redundant a month ago. Feeling inspired to keep on helping the startup ecosystem, she was later joined by Sharon Yeo Mei Ching and Gwen Sim, both final-year students at National University of Singapore (NUS).

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